Review by Ale Turdó
The Truth is Out There
Veteran indie filmmaker Brian Neil Hoff cooked up a simple but smart found footage flick with his latest feature The Dragonfly Conspiracy. Shot as an almost guerrilla-style kind of movie.
Blake, played by Hoff himself, and Christine (Carolina Liechtensein), real-life granddaughter of Hollywood legend John Ford, are two friends trying to escape from the invisible and mischievous grip of The New World Organization, an ominous cult, a wolf in sheep’s clothing laying down a meticulous plan to exterminate most of the human population worldwide. After cutting loose from the cult camp, Blake and Christine start a frenetic journey across the country trying to reveal the organization’s true face. They take a camera with them in order to record everything they go through.
After some twenty plus years of found footage lore, Hoff still manages to get the best out of such a beat up genre, with moments of spontaneity that convey a believable enough sense of urgency. With nothing close to a big budget, they manage to build a considerable level of paranoia and suspense almost from nothing, not even scratch. The road trip spirit latches to the found footage scenario and move into a completely different territory, almost an uncharted one.
Most of the scenes consist of long uncut shots that add an eerie realism to the whole thing, evoking an Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County (1998) kind of vibe, in a good way of course. The opening sequence is an eleven minutes suspenseful car chase thru L.A. highways they relies on the two main characters reacting to each other and the situation. Not an easy trick to pull at all.
The frantic pace slows down every now and then to introduce new characters that help out Blake and Christine on their journey, and deliver a much needed rest to the audience. Their testimonies help building up the narrative, each new character adds a new piece that shape the story.
Like almost all found footage movies, The Dragonfly Conspiracy often struggles when it comes to provide information to the audience that normally would not require the main characters to actually be in a certain place, but the constraints of the genre, and this particular plot, forces them to.
A lower runtime would have been probably a better fit for the movie. With almost ninety minutes on its back, you often get the feeling that this sort of narrative could have been a bit more efficient taking ten of fifteen minutes off, avoiding some iterations and circling around.
Putting aside all the classic paranoid tropes of the thriller conspiracy genre such as news media attacks, pharmaceutical schemes, DNA manipulation and imminent clone uprising, The Dragonfly Conspiracy still leaves some room for a not so crazy and not so subtle message: don’t be a sleeper, read the signs and stay awake.
Ale Turdó —Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandro is a film critic and movie enthusiast that has been writing about movies for the past 7 years, covering everything from blockbusters to indie gems and all in between. He majored in Sound Design and Cinematography in college and is a full time digital content producer. He’s the kind of guy that thinks that even the worst movie can have something interesting to write about. Additionally, he writes for Escribiendo Cine and A Sala Llena. Twitter: @aleturdo and IG: @hoysalecine